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Knowing When to Keep Quiet

SJO Illustrations
SJO Illustrations

I tend to give advice on everything.

I can’t help it, maybe it’s the teacher in me coming out. I just want to be helpful. When dealing with my husband Scott, it’s better to know when “helping” is annoying. For example, when Scott was learning to park the boat and trailer, I learned I should be keeping my advice to myself.

Trailer practice began at the empty Assembly of God Church parking lot on a Thursday at 6:30 pm. I’m not quite sure why Scott wanted me to come along, moral support? He knew I would be documenting this experience for posterity, and maybe for a laugh or two.

Scott used glow-in-the-dark orange rubber cones to mark a regular-sized parking space. If it had been me, I would have taken three spaces and then worked my way down to one after practicing a month.  I suppose Scott is an optimist.

When my mother taught me to ice a cake or sew on a button, she’d say, “Hold your mouth just so, so you can concentrate.” I still partially hold my mouth open when I’m doing anything tedious. I would have suggested to Scott to hold his mouth just so, but I realized I would be better off keeping that idea to myself, along with my thoughts on  the minuscule size of the parking space.

Scott tried to move forward into a position where the trailer was perfectly straight behind the car. He backed up and ran over the cones. Not even close. He said, “I’m going to circle around again. I’ve got plenty of gas.” I didn’t say a word.

Undeterred, Scott drove around the parking lot three times, until he found the perfect spot. It was sort of like watching my dog find the right space on the couch.

As soon as he was in position, a truck appeared in the space directly across from us. This person knew what we were doing.

How could you miss us? They had the entire lot to choose a space and decided to throw a mental monkey wrench into Scott’s plans.

Within minutes, an SUV whipped in and immediately the back window lowered; the face of a buck-toothed girl wearing large glasses gaped at us, mouth hanging open. Then big truck number two arrived and parked next to the first one. Apparently, we were going to be their evening entertainment, and I wanted to hide.

Scott ignored it all and began to talk to himself as he backed up, “If I want the front of the boat to turn right…” I sat quietly, staring at the floor.

Even with all the pressure, Scott performed admirably and I became his cheerleader.

Before the sun set completely, we got home and angled the car and trailer for the driveway. I suppose it was good that he practiced in the parking lot, because our driveway is about the same width as a parking space. Twenty minutes later, the trailer and boat were parked.

The saga continues Saturday, when we put the boat in water for the first time. I wonder if we should take the orange cones, or maybe I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

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